Brittany Spaniel Training Guide
While there are some dog breeds that need a firm hand during training, this is not one. In fact, the Brittany is sometimes considered overly sensitive, doing everything possible to please its master. Therefore, during training, you will have the greatest success if you are firm but never cross.
Even raising your voice too much or giving your dog a “dirty look” could be enough to undo all the hard work you have accomplished. Instead, you want to be patient while training the Brittany, using only praise and special treats for reinforcement opposed to punishment.
How Train Brittany Spaniel
Being a highly intelligent dog, you will find this particular breed among the easiest of all breeds to train. Keep in mind that while puppies, the Brittany loves to play so you want to make training time enjoyable, almost a game. Otherwise, you would expect to have a few battles of the wills. However, providing the dog with consistency and praise, you will be amazed at just how quickly it learns. Having a close relationship with your Brittany will certainly make training far more successful.
Obviously, the type of training you provide would depend on how you want to use the dog. For instance, if you were interested in show, then the Brittany would need to learn not just common obedience but also anything special to stand out in the ring against competitors. If you wanted to use the dog for field trial competition, other training, often more intense training, would be involved such as pole-bending, jumping, crawling through tunnels, etc.
On the other hand, if the Brittany were going to be used for hunting, the dog would need to learn to be around the sound of a gun, to stay within a certain range of you, to know when to and when not to flush out birds, and so on.
In this article, we wanted to address “sound conditioning”, which would be imperative to dogs used for hunting but also in the ring. Obviously, you do not want to take your new Brittany puppy out to the firing range and start shooting,. This method would cause confusion and instill permanent fear. Instead, you want to start the introduction to your puppy with a decoy bird.
The goal here is that around age eight weeks, you want to start getting your dog excited about birds. Then, it would certainly help if you could take your puppy to a place where game birds are raised, allowing it to see and smell, which helps stimulate the natural hunting instinct.
Once your dog shows interest in the bird, over the course of several weeks, have a friend bring a small caliber gun, possibly a .22, to a safe place where the gun could be fired. While the dog is being allowed to smell and touch the decoy bird, have the friend stand about 100 yards out and fire.
Typically, the puppy should raise its head to look in the direction of the gun and nothing more. Over the course of an hour, repeat this process, bringing the shooter in a few yards until you are within 50 yards of each other.
Another great brittany spaniel training tip for sound conditioning is that while your puppy is feeding, we mean seriously gulping down the food, drop a pan in the next room. Be in a position or have someone with you that can watch for the puppy’s reaction. You may notice the puppy startle and then return to eating or not paying any attention at all. Do not repeat this process until the next day, again while the puppy is in the midst of a good meal.
Continue this training method for about a week and then move the pan to the room in which the puppy is eating. Standing on the opposite side of the room, you want to drop the pan, or bang on the bottom with a metal spoon.
Finally, invest in an expensive cap pistol and again, start in a different room from where the puppy is located, click the pistol a few times. This would be repeated over several days and then slowly, begin taking the gun closer to the dog but never immediately over its head. Allow the dog to see the gun, which will soon become a familiar object. Soon, the Brittany Spaniel will register that the gun will make a noise but not cause any harm.
In all, you should expect to sound condition your dog anywhere from two to six weeks depending on the reaction of the dog. Remember, nature will kick in and soon, sound will have no effect at all, only bringing with it excitement as you begin training with real birds.
Read More About Brittany Spaniel
- Brittany Spaniel Breed Information
- Brittany Spaniel : 10 Most Common Questions
- Brittany Spaniel Health Guide
- Owning a Brittany Spaniel : Breeder Recommendations